Grilled Fruit Salad #BornOnTheFarm

Grilled fresh fruit salad with cottage cheese and balsamic vinegarWe’ve been experiencing some hot days during our travels through Spain and Morocco and we also recently had the pleasure of meeting some new friends. Being on the road we miss our weekend hangout sessions with friends and it’s not easy meeting new peeps as we keep moving on a weekly basis. We lucked out in Marrakesh because another travelling family connected with us via the powers of social media and we had them over for dinner. As I fretted about what to make with the limited ingredients in the fridge and handful of spices I’ve been carrying around, my mind wandered to what I’d have made if they visited us back home in Toronto. It was an easy one! Our rooftop opens in May and so we would have definitely headed upstairs to grill something and enjoy the sun set over Toronto. Mind you, I’ve heard about the rainstorms taking place there so it’s quite possible that we may have been rained out but I’m ever the optimist!

 

Disclosure : I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Gay Lea and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog, as always, are TOTALLY ours! 

 

We grill a lot during the summer and so it isn’t surprising that our summer menu consists mainly of meats and a few veggies like corn and asparagus. Last year I decided to switch things up and discovered an awesomely delicious grilled salad that was packed with protein. Ontario is home to some juicy fruits and vegetables so we’re always on the look out for local farmers markets. With my parents living in Niagara on the Lake and operating a Bed and Breakfast there, they seem to always be bringing us “leftover” nectarines and peaches. Instead of making MORE jams and hot sauces, I decided to toss them on the grill – SO SO SO Good! Who knew?

 

Gay lea cottage cheese grilled fruit salad

It’s no lie, I do love my cottage cheese as you well know! So of course I added in some Gay Lea Nordica Cottage Cheese. You know how much we love Gay Lea but did you know that Gay Lea’s Canadian dairy product is OWNED by dairy farmers? This means that these Ontario dairy farmers get a say in everything that happens at Gay Lea and all their products have been ‘born on the farm’. What’s not to love?

As we roamed the markets in the Medina in Marrakesh and saw meats, fruits and veggies piled up, I knew we didn’t have the same guarantee we have when shopping for produce in Ontario. That safety net has been pulled out from under us and so we’ve had some struggles along the way. We keep running to supermarkets (which were hard to find in the older towns of Morocco) so that we can continue to eat meats and veggies.

If you’re looking to add a little flair to your next BBQ why not whip up this super simple Grilled Fruit Salad to accompany your grilled meats?  Serve it with a bottle of chilled Rose and that’s perfection! My kids aren’t fan of ALL the ingredients so I allow them to pick and choose the ones they want in their salad – it’s a win win because everything is quite healthy! Dare I mention that it’s super easy because all you have to do is grill a few of the fruits and then place the rest on the picnic table for everyone to layer in what they want?

Grilled fruit salad

 

Feel free to choose your favourite summer fruits but ensure that you have some fruits that can be grilled. Grilling fruits brings out the natural sugars and brings an extra layer of flavour. For example, nectarines, peaches, cantaloupe, pears, pineapple, grapefruit, strawberries, watermelon, figs and lemons are some of my faves to grill. One thing to note about grilling fruit is that you do need to pay attention so that they don’t over cook and turn into mush. The trick is to use a grilling tray that still allows the fruits to have contact with the grill. Turn the fruits once and it should be ready within 5 minutes. I also love having blueberries, cherries, cucumbers and tomatoes to toss into a plate of fresh leafy greens (choose your favourite variety). Piling on some Gay Lea Nordica Cottage Cheese (2% is my go to but they do have a variety) brings the salad a creamy texture that’s so refreshing and packs a protein punch. As you know, my kids prefer the smooth cottage cheese and so I’m thrilled to hear that there’s going to be a SMOOTH PLAIN cottage cheese coming out this month! Of course we love the flavoured ones but the plain will be a great addition for us.

Oh and by the way, if you like things a bit tart and sweet, drizzle some balsamic vinegar (the thick sweet kind) over your grilled summer salad and sprinkle some fresh mint.

There you go – tell me you wouldn’t enjoy that with your juicy steak or grilled teriyaki chicken!

 

Our friends at Gay Lea have launched a fun contest which runs on their Facebook page until Friday July 7th. This interactive game is fun for all ages and is sure to keep the kid busy! It’s available on desktop, tablet and smart phone and you have plenty of chances to win great prizes.

 

Leafy grilled fruit salad